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February 8, 2016

The premise of James Corden's carpool karaoke ride with Elton John, released online Sunday night, is that he needs somebody to help him drive to work in the Los Angeles rain, because L.A. drivers are a mess when there's any precipitation. So naturally, once John was in the car, Corden drove with his hands off the wheel, belting out Elton John's greatest hits, sometimes dressed up in silly costumes. But he did get John to talk about what it's like to be Elton John, including not having a cellphone (though he does have an iPad).

Sir Elton and Corden started out with "Your Song," which John and Bernie Taupin wrote in 1970. After John put music to Taupin's lyrics, he told Corden, "we both realized that this was a huge step forward in our songwriting. We never looked back from that song." Corden noted that John has had "some amazing looks over the years," and John said that he dressed up in part because he was told he's not a very good dancer. Also, "I was never a lead vocalist, not like Bowie or Jagger — I was stuck at a piano," he said. "And I wasn't, you know, a sex symbol, and so I had fun with my outfits. And I just went for it." And he's not done. John told Corden that when he hears a young artist that inspires him, he vows to push on. Which he can do, because he has the energy of a 20-year-old, the 68-year-old John said. "Once you stop, you die." Watch the singing and talking below. Peter Weber

3:18 p.m. ET
Alex Wong/Getty Images

White House meals are subject to celebration and scrutiny, ranging from Eleanor Roosevelt's famously inedible kitchen to Michelle Obama's homegrown fares. But one month into President Trump's stay at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, First Lady Melania Trump "has said little publicly about what she expects or wants from the cooking and entertaining staff," The New York Times reports.

"Without a hands-on first lady, they're just pumping out food and seeing what the reaction is," explained presidential food writer Adrian Miller.

While the responsibilities of running the kitchen traditionally fall on the first lady, Melania Trump is living at Trump Tower, in Manhattan, through the spring. As a former model, her culinary preferences include water and fruit although her Slovenian relatives were farmers. George Ball of the Burpee seed company said he is offering Melania Trump Raka red onion seeds to showcase in her garden as her maternal grandfather created the hybrid variety.

But "usually, the food suffers when the first lady is uninterested," Miller said.

President Trump's culinary preferences are thought to include well-done steak with ketchup and an abundance of fast food. "I don't expect to see President Trump expounding the value of spinach and broccoli," said Sam Kass, former President Barack Obama's senior policy adviser for nutrition. Jeva Lange

3:14 p.m. ET
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In an interview published Monday morning, Planned Parenthood's president Cecile Richards admitted to BuzzFeed News that she is uncertain what lies ahead for the organization under the Trump administration. "The truth is, no one really knows what will make a difference anymore," Richards said, after a draft of the House Republican proposal to repeal ObamaCare leaked last week that called for a complete defunding of Planned Parenthood.

BuzzFeed News reports that under the leaked proposal, the low-income women who make up roughly 60 percent of Planned Parenthood's 2.5 million patients would no longer be able to receive non-abortion health care. The organization currently relies on more than $500 million in federal funding to provide services nationwide including STI tests, birth control, and cancer screenings to women in need. While Richards said her organization won't go down without a fight, she told BuzzFeed News that "there's no way to overstate what a health-care crisis this would be for women" if Planned Parenthood were to lose that funding.

Since the election, protests like last month's Women's March have sprung up all across the globe in support of reproductive rights and Planned Parenthood in particular. Richards said she and her team are on a quest to "fill in a picture for people" about the other services the organization provides aside from abortion, including running an ad featuring a woman relaying how a visit to Planned Parenthood convinced her not to undergo the procedure. Federal funds do not pay for abortion services.

Asked whether the record-breaking number of donations to Planned Parenthood since Donald Trump won the presidential election — including tens of thousands made in Vice President Mike Pence's name — could replace federal funding should Congress pull the plug, Richards said "the answer to that is no. Not to take care of 2.5 million patients."

Read the rest of the interview with Richards at BuzzFeed News. Sarah Weldon

2:17 p.m. ET

At least 16 Jewish community centers and day schools across the U.S. reported receiving bomb threats Monday, the latest in a recent uptick of anti-Semitic acts. The threats extended across 11 states, with threats confirmed in Maryland, Indiana, Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Michigan, and Alabama, NBC News reported.

The JCC Association of North America said in a statement that "many affected institutions have already been declared clear and have returned to regular operations."

The latest wave of threats comes just a day after dozens of headstones at a Jewish cemetery in Philadelphia were toppled, the second time a Jewish cemetery has been vandalized this month. Since the beginning of 2017, at least 80 anti-Semitic threats have been reported in Canada and the U.S.

The FBI and the Department of Justice have launched investigations, and President Trump has promised this "horrible" anti-Semitism is "going to stop." But the JCC Association of North America noted "actions speak louder than words." "Members of our community must see swift and concerted action from federal officials to identify and capture the perpetrator or perpetrators who are trying to instill anxiety and fear in our communities," the statement read. Becca Stanek

1:41 p.m. ET
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President Trump's Department of Justice is reversing the government's opposition to a Texas voter ID law that critics claim intentionally discriminates against minorities, Dallas News reports.

The 2011 law requires voters to present one of seven government-issued identifications in order to fill out a ballot, although Hispanic and black voters are disproportionately less likely to have one of the approved IDs. The U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last year that the law was discriminatory but could not agree on whether it was intentionally discriminatory. Both sides are set to argue the question of discriminatory intent on the behalf of the lawmakers before a U.S. District Judge on Tuesday.

"The change in the administration is the only explanation for this change [in position], and it's outrageous," said Danielle Lang, who serves as the deputy director of voting rights at the Campaign Legal Center. "For the Department of Justice to change its position after six years, when none of the facts have changed, is appalling."

The law's supporters, including Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R), say the ID requirement is necessary to prevent voter fraud. President Trump has made his concern about voter fraud a central topic of his administration, despite a complete lack of evidence that the crime is widespread.

Rep. Marc Veasey, a Democrat representing Fort Worth, described the law as "the clearest manifestation of modern-day voter suppression tactics." Private plaintiffs will continue to fight against the law. Jeva Lange

12:25 p.m. ET
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Tired of stumbling off curbs or bumping into other pedestrians while consulting a map on your smartphone? When you wear Lechal Insoles ($100), a gentle vibration in one shoe or the other will tell you when and in which direction to turn. Just enter your destination into Lechal's GPS app, and let your phone do the navigating. The batteries for the vibrating pads last about 15 days on a charge. Besides steering you from place to place, the insoles can also act as activity trackers, monitoring distances traveled, steps taken, calories burned, and more. The Week Staff

12:14 p.m. ET
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On Monday, the World Health Organization released a list of bacteria that it has identified as humans' biggest cause for concern. The list, which includes 12 "priority pathogens" that have "built-in abilities to find new ways to resist treatment," is intended as a nudge for researchers to develop new antibiotics — and fast.

"Antibiotic resistance is growing, and we are fast running out of treatment options," said Marie-Paule Kieny, the WHO's assistant director-general for health systems and innovation. "If we leave it to market forces alone, the new antibiotics we most urgently need are not going to be developed in time."

The list, which you can see here, divides the 12 bacteria into three categories of urgency: "critical," "high," and "medium." But all of the listed pathogens present "an enormous threat to human health," The New York Times noted. The "critical" group includes three "multidrug-resistant bacteria that pose a particular threat in hospitals, nursing homes, and other care facilities," Reuters reported.

"We're at a tipping point," said Jean Patel, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention specialist who consulted with WHO on the list. "We can take action and turn the tide — or lose the drugs we have." Becca Stanek

11:54 a.m. ET
Aude Guerrucci-Pool/Getty Images

President Trump on Monday told health care executives that "I haven't called Russia in 10 years," despite the fact that he spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the phone just 30 days ago. Trump visited Moscow as recently as 2013.

Trump's comment came in response to questions shouted to him by the press about whether there should be a special prosecutor to investigate the influence of Russia on the 2016 presidential election. The pool report claims that Trump "did not respond to the question immediately, but as the pool was mostly out, he mouthed the word 'no' to those at the table." Jeva Lange

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